Earlier this week, the President released his 2021 Budget. The budget includes a $7.5 million cut to Part B funding. It also includes a $5 million increase to Part C funding, but those funds are reserved for competitive employment grants. Specifically, the budget would use that $5 million “to test evidence-based models of employment training and support that could be adopted by Centers for Independent Living to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities”.
The budget includes major cuts to many critical programs disabled people rely on, including Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, and others. It also includes cuts to several important disability programs within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), including (but not limited to) NIDILRR (the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research), State Councils on Developmental Disabilities, University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs), and eliminates the Assistive Technology Alternative Financing Programs.
It is important to note that this is only a proposal, and Congress is unlikely to include many of these proposals in their appropriations bills. However, it does provide insight into what the President’s priorities are. It also gives us additional insight into the areas we’ll likely have to continue fighting for.
In addition to the proposed funding levels, we wanted to bring your attention to three legislative proposals related to the Independent Living Program:
The first proposal is “Inclusion of Program Evaluation and Performance Measurement Activities with Reserved Training and Technical Assistance Funds”. This proposal would change current law to allow funds currently appropriated for training and technical assistance to be used for program evaluation and performance measurement. This is not currently allowed. This change to the law would mean they would be able to use technical assistance funds to administer the program rather than provide technical assistance.
The second proposal is “Removal of Requirement that Annual Grantee Compliance Reviews Occur Onsite”. This proposal would remove the requirement under current law that CIL compliance reviews be conducted onsite. This means there would no longer be a requirement for any reviews to be conducted onsite, and we believe this change would undermine effective compliance reviews.
The third proposal is “Provide Direct Training and Technical Assistance to Centers for Independent Living”. This proposal would change current law to allow funding for CIL / SILC training and technical assistance (T/TA) to be used by ACL to provide direct T/TA. Current law requires funding to be awarded through grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements to provide T/TA. This is what currently funds IL-NET. This change in the law would allow ACL to no longer fund IL-NET and use the funds internally to provide technical assistance.
The legislative proposals, along with the ACL Congressional Justification, Budget Table, and HHS Budget in Brief can all be viewed at acl.gov/about-acl/budget. We will keep you updated on any progress or new developments.